Allt för SverigeSVT's hit TV show about ten Americans seeking their Swedish roots
In 2014 I had the opportunity of a lifetime to explore the country that my Swedish ancestors left behind four generations ago. I participated in a Swedish television show called Allt för Sverige, known as “Great Swedish Adventure” in the USA. Together with nine other Americans, I got to learn about my ancestors and visit places that were important to them. We journeyed from the Southernmost end of Sweden all the way to Lapland – North of the Arctic Circle – making lifelong friends along the way. And since it was a competition, I also got a chance to find out what I’m really made of.
It started me down an exciting path of self-discovery and exploration, and it helped me understand a bit more about the world and my place in it. I’ve been reunited with long-lost Swedish relatives, and have started to learn Swedish so that I can talk with those who don’t speak much English. In summer of 2015 I’m returning to Sweden to visit family. And while I’m there, I’ll be singing in some of Sweden’s beautiful churches, including Lund Domkyrka — a place that was very special to my great-great grandmother Ellen. I’m also planning to climb Kebnekaise – the highest mountain in Sweden – together with my father and my Swedish cousin Anne who I met in the first episode of the TV series. (And we will also possibly be accompanied by great person of note … stay tuned for news on that!)
Update Nov 11, 2015: Currently the show is unavailable to watch online. Below are my behind-the-scenes blog posts about all 8 episodes of my season, which is season 4, and also the Julspecial in which four of us from previous seasons were invited back to celebrate Christmas in Sweden with our families. More photos are available on my Facebook page.
From the blog: AFS Behind the Scenes
Scene: It is Monday. Labor Day- the US holiday in early September that marks the end of summer. The dominant color of the landscape is gold as dry grass shimmers in the morning sunlight that filters through the...read more
Here it is - the final behind-the-scenes blog for Allt För Sverige season 4! The final four - Courtney, John, George, and I- take on Stockholm, and each other... *dun dun duuuuun* I love Stockholm. With all the bridges and water, it feels like an older sibling of...read more
For our second-to-last installment of season 4, we head to the Stockholm Skärgården. The Skärgården is an archipelago of somewhere between 20,000 and 35,000 islands, depending on who you ask and how you define "island." The first estimate that I heard was 20,000,...read more
When we arrived in Nyköping and opened the koffert with all the car paraphernalia I thought to myself, “My dad is gonna love this episode!” He has been tinkering with cars for...read more
(Here is the latest in my behind-the-scenes blog series. This is a long one - the Kiruna experience was one of our longest and fullest adventures. As always, I advise not reading it until after you've seen the episode, which can be viewed here.) Time to head up...read more
Uppsala, where we filmed Episode 4, was a little hard for me to get in to initially but it ended up being one of my favorite locations we visited. We arrived at the koffert still feeling Leslie's absence, and she was on all of our minds. I honestly believe what I...read more
Warning: spoilers ahead! Don’t continue until you’ve watched episode three! As I’m trying to write up my thoughts for this episode they aren’t coming as freely as they did for the last two. I think that’s because this time, the things that ended up in the episode...read more
(After the great response I got from my little "behind the scenes" essay from episode 1, several people asked whether I would be willing to do the same for other episodes too. So here are some of my favorite memories from our time in Småland. Don't proceed if you...read more
There are many vivid memories I have from that first week in Sweden that I have spent the past few months unsuccessfully attempting to capture in writing. I think it took reliving the experience through watching the episode to make all the thoughts that were swimming...read more
Press and Media
I also did quite a bit of press for the show. I started getting calls from reporters about two months before the first episode aired, and the press coverage continued during and after the season. Allt för Sverige continued its high ratings from previous seasons, and even set new records with 2 million viewers for the final episode. That’s 2 million viewers in a country of 10 million people, and we had a 45% share of everyone watching TV. Might be hard for Americans to grasp just how popular this show is in Sweden — I know it was for me. (When I first applied for the show I figured it was a little cable show that nobody would ever see. Little did I know that my face would be in every tabloid in the country and I would end up on the cover of the weekly TV section in Sweden’s biggest legit newspaper, as well.) Below are some press clippings, links to a few of my favorite articles (with English translations) and also some interviews with Seattle radio stations that picked up on the story.
Hemmets Journal article – Oct 7, 2014
Transcript: Live chat with Skånska Dagbladet – Oct 20, 2014
KOMO Newsradio Interview – Dec 3, 2014
KIRO News Radio with Dave Ross – Dec 12, 2014
Gig Harbor Living – “A Breath of Inspiration” – January 2015
Amos Helsingborg magazine – Feb 7, 2015